Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

What is the WaterBug and is Water Defense promoting the WaterBug for sale?

The WaterBug is an open-cell foam-based water sampling tool that has been developed by Water Defense to compliment the traditional grab samples we continue to collect. We believe that the WaterBug serves to average out the episodic changes in water contaminant concentrations inherent in many bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, as well as municipal water supplies, irrigation systems, and in premise plumbing fixtures. We also believe that it has the ability to document the presence of water contaminants that may otherwise remain undetected. We continue to evaluate the efficacy of this newly-developed water sampling system. Water Defense uses the WaterBug in concert with traditional grab sampling methodology in order to generate more detailed and comprehensive measurement of water contamination.

The WaterBug base material is made out of an open-cell foam invented by Scott Smith, who has donated the license to produce and use the technology associated with the WaterBug to Water Defense. We provide the WaterBug to our partners and affected communities in order to empower them with the same sampling methodology we use. The WaterBug will never be sold or marketed to the Flint community, nor have we ever entertained the idea of doing so. Neither Water Defense nor Scott has ever sold or profited from the WaterBug in any way in Flint or anywhere else.

What scientific credentials does Water Defense have and are they a credible source of information?

Water Defense recognizes the importance of generating accurate data interpretations via traditionally-educated science professionals and works with highly-trained and credible scientists who specialize in multiple fields of expertise.

The Water Defense investigation team is led by Scott Smith, our Chief Technology Officer & Investigator. Scott is a graduate of Baylor University and Harvard Business School and a named inventor on 6 patents and 14 patent pending applications relating to specialty foams, one of which covers the open-cell foam base material of the Water Defense WaterBug. In 2008, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded Scott the SBA Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery after his manufacturing plant was hit by a devastating flood. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to documenting and informing the response to water contamination disasters all over the country. He has personally visited the sites of over sixty disasters in order to document the water contamination and assist in response efforts. Scott has donated his time, effort, intellectual property and expertise to Water Defense.

Scott’s investigation process and sampling methodology is informed and supported by a team of experienced industry specialists and highly-qualified scientists in order to ensure procedural integrity. After samples are gathered and sent to an independent laboratory, our entire team reviews the lab reports in order to formulate public communications and policy statements. Our investigations and data dissemination is the product of collaboration with a team of professionals from varied backgrounds and areas of expertise. We believe that teamwork among citizens, scientists, inventors with field experience, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies is essential to protecting communities from water contamination and providing support to those already or potentially impacted.

The following video of a press conference in the Flint town hall on April 22, 2016 with the Plumber’s Union, community leader Melissa Mays, and Councilmember Eric Mays reflects the proper context of our team’s investigation, with scientific input, at that time:  April 22, 2016 Press Conference – Flint City Council Chambers.

For a list of Water Defense staff, scientific support and credentials, please visit our “Who We Are” page.

What is OPFLEX Environmental Technologies?

OPFLEX Environmental Technologies (“OET”) is a company that produces various types of foam. Scott Smith, as the inventor of an open-cell foam with industrial oil-spill remediation applications, licenses the use of his technology to OET for products manufactured under the trade name “OPFLEX®.” Scott Smith has no operational role, nor does he own any stake in OET. With the exception of a licensing agreement, Scott Smith and OET are completely separate. All disputes between OET and any other party, including a past dispute involving a past dispute involving rent and tax payments are completely unrelated to Scott.

Scott does not receive any royalty fees or financial payment of any kind from Water Defense’s separate use of his intellectual property.

What is AquaFlex?

AquaFlex is the trade name of a partnership for developing open-cell foam systems intended to provide filtering solutions for industrial wastewater applications. It was jointly developed between Scott Smith and SCAP Consultancy. This technology is neither available nor marketed for use in home filtration systems in or outside of Flint, Michigan. It is not being sold or marketed to the residents of Flint for any application whatsoever. Water Defense does not produce, use, or sell AquaFlex nor have any other connection to the company. It is not intended to make contaminated water potable, nor has Scott or anyone else ever claimed that to be the case.